Kaapama pleased with level of tolerance at land conference

03 Oct 2018 17:30pm
WINDHOEK, 03 OCT (NAMPA) - Political analyst Phanuel Kaapama has expressed satisfaction with the flexibility and level of tolerance at the second National Land Conference, where Namibians with divergent views have gathered under one roof.
Kaapama made these observations during an interview with Nampa on Wednesday – day three of the national indaba – which covered a plethora of issues pertaining to the conference.
The days leading up to the conference were mired in controversy, with several pressure groups withdrawing at the 11th hour, branding it a “predetermined political gimmick.”
Opposition parties also boycotted the conference for the same reason and citing insufficient time slots allocated to them. They also said the issue of ancestral land claims would not receive the prominence it warrants.
However, Kaapama said the conference started on the right footing.
“If you listen to the president’s opening statement, I would say it set the right tone,” he said, in reference to President Hage Geingob’s remarks in which he said everything would be discussed as far as land in Namibia is concerned for lasting solutions to be found.
Another observation by the analyst is that despite the difference in opinion displayed by various speakers at the gathering, delegates have been tolerant to opposing views.
“From what we have seen, nobody stood up to shut down someone else, even when they made points that are a bit hard.”
He further said even the sensitive topics that many feared would bring the conference to a standstill have been deliberated on with respect and dignity.
One such topic is the question of ancestral land and its restitution, which some antagonists said could lead to civil war, divide the country and stoke ethnicity, he said.
“This did not happen,” he noted.
On bodies that opted against attending the conference, Kaapama said it was their democratic right.
Despite this, he is of the view that boycotting the conference was not the wisest of decisions.
“If we disagree on issues, as Namibians, the best way we can resolve it is by reaching out to each other instead of retreating in our own small corners,” he reasoned.
Kaapama went on to say: “If the key issue was the [leaked] document, the conference platform would have been the place to ask questions and to even take a decision to forget about the document and says ‘Let’s start from zero’.”
The leaked document titled ‘Advisory Position Paper to Government in Preparation for the second National Land Conference September 2018’ was purportedly Government’s position paper on land.
Kaapama said what is of concern now is the implementation of resolutions emanating from the conference.
“I bet you many of the people who are gathered here want to see the land issue resolved in their lifetime, rather than one day when they are no longer around.”